— Austin York (@realAustinYork) October 7, 2019
Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, 31, recently had a new mugshot as she begins her 10-year prison sentence in earnest.
The defendant was convicted on Tuesday, and sentenced on Wednesday in the murder of neighbor Botham Shem Jean, 26. Both she and the victim lived at the South Side Flats apartment complex. She lived on the third floor, but accidentally parked on the fourth after a long day at work, and went to Jean’s apartment while believing it was hers, she said. Guyger shot and killed him while thinking he was an intruder, she said. Her defense argued this was a reasonable mistake under the law. Jurors sided with the state.
The case landed on a cultural fissure, and fueled an ongoing national debate over how law enforcement treats people of color, especially black men. Guyger is white. Jean was black.
During the sentencing hearing, prosecutors worked to show what was lost with the victim’s death. Those who knew him agreed he was smart, gregarious, and caring. The state also introduced texts showing that Guyger joked about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s assassination, and said black cops had a “different way of working.”
The defense tried to show that Guyger was a good person. They brought up mother Karen Guyger to describe her childhood, saying the defendant “loved going outside all the time and made friends real quick.” She also said her daughter was a survivor of sexual abuse.
Prosecutors asked for 28 years years, but jurors handed down 10. One member of the jury told ABC that the defendant showed remorse, and another said he thought that Jean wouldn’t have wanted vengeance.
The victim’s brother Brandt Jean, and the presiding judge Tammy Kemp both hugged the defendant at the sentencing hearing.
Jerry Lambe contributed to this report.
[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]